Who exactly is the teenage Uzbek chess star Nodirbek Abdusattorov, who dethroned Magnus Carlsen as World Rapid Chess Champion?
Uzbek prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 17, has turned the chess world on its head by dethroning Magnus Carlsen en route to claiming his first World Rapid Chess Championship. Here’s what you need to know about the teenage phenomenon.
There aren’t many teenagers on the planet who can say that they defeated both Carlsen and his rival, Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi – the two grandmasters who recently dueled for the world championship in Dubai
However, that is a claim that Abdusattorov can make after coming out on top of the field of players in the dramatic conclusion to Tuesday’s World Rapid Chess Championship in Warsaw, Poland.
Abdusattorov beat Nepomniachtchi in a playoff by a score of 1.5 to 0.5 to claim the crown and in doing so became the youngest ever world champion in the discipline.
This came after Carlsen, who is generally considered to be the world’s best chess player, was eliminated due to what he described as “completely idiotic” tiebreak rules.
Carlsen’s complaints aside, it was a star-making performance from Uzbek teenager Abdusattorov, who has successfully marked his report card as one of the most intriguing new faces in the game.
But as anyone who has followed his form will attest, the youngster’s rise to the top of the chess world has been written in the stars for some time.
Abdusattorov has already risen to grandmaster status and has been earmarked as a future star since he became the 2012 World under-8 champion.
At the age of just nine, he defeated two grandmasters in Andrey Zhigalko and Rustam Khusnutdinov in one tournament.
His ascent showed no sign of slowing. In April 2015 he became the youngest player to enter the list of the top 100 juniors in the sport at just 11 years of age and, as of the start of December 2021, has risen to ninth position in the rankings – something which will surely change following his success in Warsaw.
17-year old Uzbek Abdusattorov has just beaten the world champion, is completely relaxed about it and just focused on the rest of the event. “It’s a huge victory, but I am expecting to play better in the next rounds.” he tells NRK. #RapidBlitzpic.twitter.com/d5Fmt1Xlob
— Tarjei J. Svensen (@TarjeiJS) December 28, 2021
As the years ticked on, so too did his accolades.
In 2021, he won the first group of the PNWCC Super G60 while also qualifying for the Chess World Cup, where he placed 68th.
This past September, Abdusattorov’s improved form began to pay dividends. He took second place behind Anish Giri (who is 10 years older than him) at the Tolstoy Cup tournament organized by the Chess Federation of Russia – and earlier this month won the El Llobregat Open in Spain.
He won another Spanish tournament shortly thereafter, the Sitges Open, defeating experienced players like Ivan Cheparinov and Dmitrij Kollars along the way.
But it was the performance in Warsaw which he capped with the win against Nepomniachtchi – the world’s fifth-ranked player – which has really made the chess world sit up and take notice of the Uzbek teenager who is poised to duel with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Fabiano Caruana, to name but a few, for many years to come.
And judging by Carlsen’s reaction to Abdusattorov’s victory, it seems that he expects many more encounters with his new rival in future.
“Squabbles about the rules aside, what an absolutely incredible achievement!” wrote the Norwegian icon on Twitter.
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